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Posted by on Nov 21, 2017 in Digital Industry News | 0 comments

Why “Booking Direct” is Valuable & Why Target Marketing Can Play an Important Role in Customer Acquisition

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In the hospitality industry today, digital marketing can be a major factor in revenue generation and hotel awareness. Hotels can differentiate themselves in the marketplace by telling unique stories and knowing their customers’ demographics. One of the most important and influential aspects of digital marketing within the hospitality industry is a hotel’s website. Every aspect of the shopper’s journey online can be influenced by using proven tactics that make booking directly on the hotel’s website more enticing. Roughly 60% of consumers will visit a hotel’s website before booking through an OTA (online travel agency). The hotel website execution is an opportunity that can lead to more successful impressions or views, and potential conversions surrounding what your hotel can offer.

Three factors come to mind when generating genuineness and authenticity in the digital space:

  1. Photography – The hotel website must have high quality images that will capture attention quickly, while also being memorable.
  2. Merchandising & Promotions – The hotel website can also include incentives, such as special offers that serve as rewards for booking direct, which other hotels or OTA platforms may not have the ability to establish.
  3. Social Media Presence – The hotel must provide positive social engagement with review sites that obtain user generated content (UGC).

A hotel’s website must be authentic and genuine for whichever market it serves. Direct bookings help to improve guest relations through more in-depth descriptions of the hotel and the surrounding area. OTA’s also have this ability, but most cannot provide the type of detail that a direct and specific hotel website can.

By partnering with vendors, our MDS Paid Media team has gained market insights through many platforms, learning how to properly utilize types of display and re-targeting ads based on demand in a certain time frame. Sojern is one display channel used through our advertisement vendor that tracks where and when a user searches for a destination. This type of tracking creates a more effective targeting strategy using market data generated through historical demographics. The Sojern platform can target gender and numbers in a party for an event, as well as, length of stay. This specific paid media display channel not only offers exceptional targeting capabilities, but still focuses on the importance of directing qualified consumers to convert on the hotel website. Typically, hoteliers have found that direct bookings will drive double the value as opposed to bookings through OTAs. Even through this advantage it has been found that 80% of online bookings are eventually abandoned. Guests who book direct display a greater understanding of the marketplace, as they know what they want when it comes to their stay. Marriott.com allows consumers a more personal experience while shopping. For example, the best rate available will be presented, and if by chance a shopper stumbles upon a cheaper rate, Marriott direct bookers will earn the match of that same rate, along with an additional 25% discount.

Booking direct is a strategy that can intensify and strengthen a personal customer relationship with a brand that can evolve over a lifetime with travelers, especially those hotels with traditionally positive reviews and customer experiences. Hotels can enhance customer relations and boost revenue profitability using digital marketing to focus on booking direct. Therefore; having a seamless process through digital acquisition can lead to the most success when trying to acquire travelers.

I have mentioned the benefit a hotel website can provide by telling a unique and real story, but it is also important to understand the market you are in, the demographics of the travelers that stay with you and seasonality. These factors are exceptionally important when activating any display channels. It has also been a proven factor within the “millennial” driving force of hotel shopping. Including details that adhere to an “experience” factor. When younger guests arrive at the hotel bar, they are less concerned about the order at first with regards to food or drink, but need their personal items in order such as an outlet for a phone charger or the code to free wifi. This type of information can not only appear on a website, but can convert an impression into a booking.

Digital marketing is not a step-by-step process when it comes to acquiring customers, especially when it comes to hospitality and travel shoppers. Using market data, along with having a detailed website, can make the process of a traveler coming back to your hotel and booking direct more of a reality. Because of the idea that most shoppers will abandon the process of an actual booking, strategy to capture demand must be pointed at not only the right people, but make sure that these people remember what it is that makes your hotel stand out above all others within a market.

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